White House Denies Politics Delayed Keystone
The debate over the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline continues even though the U.S. State Department has delayed a decision on the project.
The White House is denying politics played a role in the delay. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the decision has to do with a court decision in Nebraska. A challenge to Nebraska's pipeline siting law questions the path the pipeline will take through the state.
But on Tuesday, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance gathered on the Mall in Washington to bring their message to the president. The group doesn't want the Keystone Pipeline because of the harm they believe it will bring to their land.
"The pipeline is going to contaminate the largest freshwater aquifer in North America which is the Ogallala Aquifer," one protester said. "The pipeline will break and once it does it's going to leak in and contaminate all of our fresh water to drink."
The State Department said the latest delay is because of an ongoing court case over the pipeline. But both supporters and opponents say it's a case of politics trumping policy.
If the pipeline is approved ahead of midterm elections, it could impact Democrats campaign cash flow. It also keeps liberal environmentalists happy, while still allowing some Democrats to say they support the pipleline and the jobs it would create.
Chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz denies using the pipeline to help Democrats keep control of the Senate.
"What's true is the decision over the Keystone Pipeline is complex and it is one that has to be examined very carefully," Wasserman-Shultz said. "It affects multiple states. What's also true is that incumbent senators like Mary Landrieu understand the issue that is important on the ground in their state to their constituents."
The Keystone XL Pipeline would carry crude oil from the Alberta Oil Sands in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. Supporters are quick to remind groups like the Cowboys and Indians that several State Department reviews have already concluded it would be safe and would allow America to get more oil close to home.